The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors has approved an agreement to establish and operate an international nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan.

The board has also approved a transit agreement that will permit the agency to transport LEU through Russia to and from the fuel bank. Both agreements were put before the IAEA board of directors this week.

"The conclusion of the two agreements, with today’s approval by the Board of Governors, represents a significant milestone for this important project, enabling us to proceed to full-scale implementation," said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.

In 2011, Kazakhstan put itself forward to host an international LEU fuel bank, which will likely be located at the Ulba site in eastern Kazakhstan. The facility is a LEU reserve for production of fuel assemblies for nuclear power plants and would be operated under the auspices of the IAEA.

The fuel bank aims to have enough LEU to meet the fuel fabrication needs for two to three reloads of fuel for a 1000MWe light water reactor.

The IAEA will bear the costs of the purchase and delivery of LEU, as well as the equipment and operating costs for the fuel bank. Kazakhstan will meet the costs of LEU storage, including electricity, heating, office space and staffing costs.